Duke Divinity School Dean Richard B. Hays has announced the appointment of Ismael Ruiz-Millán as director of the Hispanic House of Studies, effective July 1, 2011.
“Ismael Ruiz-Millán’s pastoral experience, theological education, and deep passion for Jesus Christ and the Hispanic/Latino community will provide a continuation of excellent leadership for the Hispanic House of Studies,” said Dean Hays. “An alumnus of the Divinity School, he has proven himself an effective parish pastor, and he has already been active in the development and advancement of the Thriving Hispanic/Latino Communities Initiative and other Hispanic House of Studies programs.”
Ruiz-Millán will assume the position now held by Edgardo Colón-Emeric, who recently was appointed assistant professor of Christian theology at the Divinity School after leading the Hispanic House of Studies since 2007 and serving as an assistant research professor of theology and Hispanic studies.
A provisional member of the N.C. Conference of the United Methodist Church, Ruiz-Millán also will direct the Thriving Hispanic/Latino Communities Initiative, which is sponsored by a grant from The Duke Endowment.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to serve as a cultural bridge and an agent of
reconciliation,” Ruiz-Millán said. “I also hope to use my experiences in building relationships with people from different backgrounds to continue developing the Hispanic House of Studies into a resource center where divinity students, pastors, and people at large can find tools to better reach out to the Hispanic population in the United States and beyond.”
Since receiving his M.Div. degree in May 2010, Ruiz-Millán has served as the pastor of Brookland and Brooksdale United Methodist churches in Roxboro, N.C. He also was the pastor from 2004-2010 of Unidos Por Cristo, a Hispanic community of faith of the UMC, in Grimesland, N.C.
In addition, Ruiz-Millán serves on the “Thriving Rural Communities Advisory Board,” which advises The Duke Endowment funded projects at the Divinity School including the Hispanic House of Studies. He also has been a Hispanic/Latino team member of the N.C. Conference of the UMC since 2004 advocating, advising, and mediating on behalf of Hispanic/Latino pastors and their ministries to the conference.
A native of San Luis Río Colorado, Sonora, Mexico, Ruiz-Millán developed and taught a course on pastoral care for spiritual formation to pastors and lay persons from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala in 2010 as part of the “Course of Study in El Salvador”—a program sponsored by the Hispanic House of Studies. He also received the Rural Ministry Fellowship Award in 2006 that recognizes United Methodist divinity students who exhibit the gifts, grace, passion, and promise for exceptional ordained leadership.
Colón-Emeric, the office’s first director, described Ruiz-Millán as uniquely gifted for the position as an immigrant to the United States, a former Divinity School student, a United Methodist pastor, and a disciple of Jesus Christ.
“Ismael is a bridge builder between peoples,” Colón-Emeric said. “Moreover, the passion and commitment he has to a vision of the church as a community of reconciliation will strengthen the Divinity School’s engagement with Hispanic communities in North Carolina and elsewhere.”